Pipe Tobacco Basics: Flavoring and Manufacturing

The absolute best place to purchase pipe tobacco is from a knowledgeable tobacconist who offer a mixture of pipe tobacco that’s vacuum sealed to ensure freshness. 

In many discount drugstores and convenience stores you’ll fine a poor selection of pipe tobacco that is in many cases not well made and loaded with artificial additives and preservatives. 

You are just getting a low quality product that is just dried out tobacco that is repackaged as pipe tobacco and the smoking experience is going to suffer as a result. Caveat emptor.

pipe tobacco store

Great Tobacco has Originated in Virginia for Centuries 

Over 60% of all tobacco grown in the United States originates in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Pipe tobacco from Virginia has a somewhat delicate fruit like flavor with a subtle sweetness. 

This tobacco is a bit tangy and clean smoking that will give your taste buds a nice full favored smoke. And you’ll find Virginia tobacco in many popular flavored blends. 

Burley Tobacco is a Popular Source for Pipe Tobacco 

Burley tobacco is a light air cured tobacco used frequently for cigarette production and pipe tobacco. In the United States burley tobacco is often used as a basis for arormatics or to modify the actual burning characteristics of the tobacco blend. 

Approximately 75% of Burley tobacco is grown in Kentucky, with Tennessee producing 20% and Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia and West Virginia producing 20%. 

The technical term for Burley is “air cured” – done in large open barns, by the natural air flow, for one or two months. The color usually ranges from light brown to mahogany. Most burley, which has virtually no sugar of its own, is “cased” or flavored with sugars of one kind or another and this rich, full-flavored tobacco has traditionally been the base of the majority of American-style sweetened blends.

When you smoke burley, it will start with a light, mellow and slightly mild nutty flavor, with no bite or sharpness. Some burley aficionados believe they can taste a rich, full flavored somewhat sweet taste like granola or oatmeal, with caramel overtones in the taste.

When smoked, cased burley starts light, mellow, and mildly nutty, with no sharpness. If it is of good quality and has been handled properly, it will produce a rich, full flavor somewhat like sweet oatmeal or granola, with a caramel character coming from the burnt sugars.

  • In the U.S., burley tobacco plants are started from pelleted seeds placed in polystyrene trays floated on a bed of fertilized water early in the spring. And transplanting begins in late May and progresses through June with a small percentage in early summer. 
  • Tobacco olants are topped by removing the developing flower head at approximately 60 days from transplanting and treated to prevent the growth of side shoots called “suckers.” Topping allows energy that would have produced a bloom to promote leaf expansion and it enhances the final product.
  • At approximately four weeks after topping the tobacco is stalk is cut using a knife that is shaped like a tomahawk. The plant is speared, spiked or spudded (this terminology depends on the location) onto a stick topped by a metal spear, spike or spud that fits over the top of the stick. 
  • Burley tobacco is allowed to air cure for eight or more weeks turning from the normal pale green to yellow and then to a rich brown. 
  • Burley that cures too quickly will retain some of the yellow pigments as well as chemicals that normally break down with a slower cure and this is not an optimum condition. 

The high quality achieved by U.S. burley producers is primarily due to natural curing conditions. Once fully cured burley is taken down, sticks are removed and leaves are stripped from the plant into grades by stalk position. Leaves are baled by grade and taken to an auction warehouse or to a receiving station run by a tobacco manufacturer or leaf dealer.

Cavendish Tobacco is More of a Process than Actual Tobacco 

Cavendish tobacco has its origins in the late 16th century, when Sir Thomas Cavendish commanded a ship in Sir Richard Grenville’s expedition to Virginia in 1585, and discovered by dipping tobacco leaves in sugar it produced a milder and more mellow smoke that was more pleasing to the palate and taste buds.

Cavendish tobacco is made via a specialized curing process, producing a natural taste in the tobacco. Cavendish can be made out of any tobacco; but it’s usually a blend of Kentucky, Virginia and or Burley and you will find it in pipe tobacco and even cigars. 

  • The actual manufacturing process is started by pressing the tobacco leaves into a type of “cake” which is about an inch thick. Heat is then applied either by a fire or steam and the tobacco undergoes a fermentation process. The cake is then sliced and these slices can be broken apart by hand. 
  • Flavoring is usually added before the leaves are pressed and the final product can have a wide range of flavors. You’ll find modern blends consisting of a wide range of specialized flavors including: cherry, chocolate, rum, strawberry, vanilla, walnut and even bourbon. 

Spice Tobaccos can be Flavored for any Taste

Spice tobacco is not really a single type of pipe tobacco. It’s a mixture or blend of several different types of pipe tobacco and it comes in many flavors including these popular types described below. 

Oriental is a aromatic, somewhat spicy tobacco that comes from Turkey or Greece and/or other Eastern Mediterranean countries. It’s commonly referred to as “Turkish Tobacco” and it has a unique spicy taste, and it can be mildly sweet with a herbal or spicy character with an aroma that smells like incense in some cases. 

Periqua is a Red Burly type of tobacco grown in and around St. James Louisiana, outside of New Orleans. It’s a somewhat rare, slowly burning, strong tasting tobacco. Because of limited production it is used sparingly in blends. It’s rich with a black color and an almost leathery texture. The fermentation process is just under a year and it involves high pressure and and allowing the tobacco to steep in its own juices for ten months before more aging. 

Latakia refers to a curing process utilizing fire curing for the tobacco leaves over controlled fires of aromatic woods and fragrant herbs. It’s grown exclusively in Cyprus and Northern Syria and after the leaves are cured they are hung in barns filled with smoke comprised of pine and oak wood which helps to impart more flavor into the final product. It produces a strong rich taste that can dry out your mouth and throat. 

A small plug for our Au Naturall’e Pipe Tobacco, which is grown on select organic tobacco farms, using seed stock that has been sourced from plants grown in VA since the late 1700’s. Long before pesticides and chemicals were used to grow tobacco, tobacco was grown in Virginia using traditional organic methods based on hand crafted techniques passed down to farmers via Native Americans. 

  • Au Natureallr eflects this level of craftsmanship, the product is organic, has no pesticides or additives and it’s manufactured and stored to exacting standards, to ensure each package is flavor rich and satisfying. 
  • Au Naturall’e is manufactured in three flavors: Red (full flavor), Gold (mild flavor), and Menthol. The packaging utilizes re-sealable 1-ounce and 6-ounce bags with a unique moisture-control pouch in each package, guaranteeing long-lasting freshness.

We hope this post about how pipe tobacco is grown source and manufactured is informative and if you have questions about these types of products please call our experienced team of customer service technicials who are all tobacconists.